Search Engine Optimization is like playing King of the mountain, you want to be on the top. Everybody wants to be the first result on Google. This depends on a lot of factors but Google hasn’t released them to the public. The world knows at least some of the factors. There are techniques to implement these factors. Some of them are acceptable practices. Some of them are not. In this article we are going to discuss the wrong ways: Black Hat SEO.
We might not know everything we have to do, but we should know what to surely avoid doing.
Keyword stuffing refers to the unnecessarily using keywords in an attempt to manipulate your Search Engine Ranking. Adding multiple variations of keywords where they add no value or repetition by paraphrasing. This practice may cause your page to rank for irrelevant queries.
Cloaking involves showing different contents to users and search engines. Black Hatters will do this in order to make content rank for various terms irrelevant to their content. Spam websites will often do this to try and avoid a search engine bot finding out the spam content they serve to users. You might change the language of a page based on the country of your user. You might change the size of your website when someone visits from a mobile device and other from a computer device. These are acceptable practices, as long as you are not changing the content that appears for search engine crawlers.
Similar to cloaking; this includes redirecting a search engine crawler to one page and all other users to another page. A redirect involves sending someone to a different URL than the link which enticed them to click on the first place. Black hat SEO uses redirects beyond the purposes which they were intended for.
Poor Quality Content
Poor quality content that’s of no value to the visitor is also a commonly posted by Balck Hatters. This includes content scraped from other websites either by a bot or a person. At one point search engines like Google wasn’t able to identify plagiarized content. Google addressed this issue by updating its algorithm in 2011. Many sites with duplicate content took a free fall in search rankings.
Puchasing and Selling of links is strictly banned by Google. It has stated that, “any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.” This includes compensation in kind for links. To further check what’s an acceptable exchange, Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team recommends looking up guidelines issued by the FTC.
Manipulating Snippets/Structured Data
Structured data also called rich snippets and schema. It serves the purpose to change how your content is shown on results page. Black Hatters provide inaccurate information in structured data and misrepresent themselves to crawler and site visitors. For example, Black hatters might award themselves five stars from a fake review site and add structured data so they stand out on search results pages. This is a highly risky as Google encourages visitors to report websites misrepresent structured data.
Blog Comment Spam
As the name suggests, this black hatter practice involves posting a link to your website in blog comments. This practice happens less often nowadays most authoritative blogs now make links in blog comments nofollow by default. This means search engines like Google do not follow the link and neither do they pass any authority.
A link farm refers to a website or a collection of websites developed with a sole goal of Link Building. Each website links out to other sites in order to rank higher on results page. Among other factors, Google ranks websites by looking at the number of backlinks a website has. Black hat SEO exploits this by using link farms to inflate the number of backlinks a particular site has. The back are generally of low quality and don’t hold much weightage.